Are you searching for an internship, but you’re not sure where to start? The most important thing in any job search is having the ability to market yourself and highlight your skills. Yes, it is great to search online and fill out applications, but you could be wasting your time if you’re not searching in the right places or if you have no idea what type of job you’re searching for.
Clean Up Your Resume
Before you start searching, you should take care of a few things. First, your resume – has it been reviewed and is it marketable? Having a good resume is your “first impression” to an employer. Keep in mind that there could be hundreds of candidates searching for the same positions, so you want to make sure you stand out. That being said, you should never lie about qualifications or previous experiences. Your resume should be easy to read. It should include your past jobs/internships and background about yourself. I spoke with Jason C, a student at Carnegie Mellon University, about his resume and his suggestions; “Whenever I make an edit or update to my resume, I typically get it reviewed by 2-3 people. The more people that review my resume, the better I feel. I try and keep it under two pages and printed out front and back.”
Now that your resume is cleaned up and ready to send off, you can focus on what type of work you looking for? Most students look for internships pertaining to their majors or minors because it’s what they have been learning about. Do you know that can help you connect with an employer? Creating a network is what builds relationships and could help you get that interview. Talk to family members, friends, previous teachers or coaches, and even past employers – you will be amazed at the amount of connections there will be.
Send a Personal Email
After you have networked and found some potential companies that are hiring, it’s time to apply! Send a personal email to the employers whose contact information you have. Introduce yourself and how you received their email. Let them know you are interested in the internship position offered, and attach your resume. Once you have sent these messages out, you can start searching online for other opportunities. Some great online resources are: LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, and Monster. You are able to search for jobs based on position and location. Keep a list of the ones that interest you and fill out the applications attached.
A company has contacted you and wants to set up an interview – YES! Interviews are the way to get yourself the job. This is your REAL “first impression” on the interviewer, so you want to put your best foot forward. First, do your research. Know the in’s and out’s of the company. You should always have 3-4 questions prepared for the interviewer, it’s not only a way to learn more about the company, but also a way to show interest.
Most jobs will notify you on their companies dress code. Come to the interview dressed accordingly. Don’t come empty-handed. Bring a copy of your resume along with a notepad and something to write with (I suggest getting a small binder to showcase your organization skills). I also asked Jason on how he prepares for his interview; “After I research the company and get a general understanding of what they do, I write down a few questions in my binder to have with me to ask. It’s always a good idea to look up company reviews and see how interviews are structured.”
When you walk into your interview, be relaxed, smile and shake the interviewers hand while making eye contact. Don’t sit down in the chair until the interviewer does or offers you to sit. As the interviewer discusses the job and other information, it’s important to be engaged. This can be done by smiling, nodding, and writing down important information being shared. Once the interview concludes, always thank the interviewer for having you. Now that the hard part is out of the way, follow up with an email, thanking them once again for having you in and hoping to hear from them soon.
Job Searching Can Be Stressful
Looking for internship can be a stressful process, but proper preparation can help make it easier. Have your resume reviewed and have an idea of what type of internship you are searching for. Utilize your resources and different job searching sites to fill out applications. Once it’s time to interview, know how to do it. Know the company and engage in conversation. You are not going to get every job you apply for, so don’t be afraid to be yourself and take this time to learn more about yourself and what type of career is right for you.